Delivering station capacity, whilst exploring opportunities to deliver commercial benefits via an over site development are the key drivers for the proposals.
Old Street station serves approx. 21 million passenger movements/year and is part of a multi-modal interchange between LUL, National Rail, and bus services. Whilst the station is centrally located it sits below a complex road network with poor ambience, lack of street presence and experiences congestion during peak times, which will need to be increased by circa 50% to meet future demand.
The key objective of the OSD is to generate sufficient revenue for the much needed upgrade of the station below. In addition to that the team’s ambition was to successfully embed the scheme within the context and create a vibrant identity for local industries around a clearly legible station entrance, which is integrated within a new pedestrian friendly public realm.
Testing varying approaches to maximise development potential whilst working around limited foundation zones was a key challenge. This included exploring different types of transfer structures or cantilevers to maximise footprints as well as optimising core sizes and locations to increase efficiencies.
Unlocking additional area was achieved by elevating a large truss structure high above ground. This solution allowed accommodation to span across to more remote foundation zones. It resulted in an elevated podium structure, which also started to play an instrumental role in establishing a distinct identity to the building and provide station presence.
Other considerations included integrating demanding MEP constraints, delivering improved public realm and providing robust servicing strategies for the various use options.
The big idea
The proposals of the OSD respond to the historic street geometry and re-establish street frontages to create an active, engaging and legible public realm.
The inclusion of a ‘podium’ element provided further opportunity to positively shape the public realm including additional outdoor space at an elevated level. It created two different spaces: A protected raised open space lifted above the traffic heavy streets and the other at grade, sheltered beneath the podium, which also provides a canopy for the station entrance.
The options for the station and OSD design were developed with a focus on keeping integration between the two to a minimum for operational and redevelopment reasons. The Single Preferred Option (SPO), resulted in a station and OSD which are almost completely structurally and operationally independent. The chosen design only requires minimal integration between the station and OSD in the form of a vent shaft, which terminated in the OSD basement. To address this, a crash deck was proposed to protect the shaft, which in turn provides opportunity to increase foundation capacity for the OSD and enable a greater number of storeys to be achieved.
The proposals provide clear direction on value within the context of a wider options analysis matrix and a vision for the site that delivers much improved station visibility, a vibrant identity for the local industries and a new pedestrian friendly public realm strategy.
The small detail
The entire façade of the podium was conceived as a digital screen, establishing the brand of the building as the hub and centre of local industry and offering opportunities for generating additional revenue.